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Kentucky Basketball: Nerlens Noel Is His Brothers' Keeper

We all knew Nerlens Noel was a great young man, and he just keeps reminding us of that.

Gonna miss you, Nerlens.
Gonna miss you, Nerlens.

We’ve already mentioned this in the Quickies back around Derby day, but it’s definitely worth highlighting in a front-page article. The upshot is, Nerlens Noel is a really good kid who walks the walk.

First, consider this tweet:

He’s right. If you click the link, you’ll see just how awesome.

Nerlens brought 7-year old Kelly Melton, who was diagnosed with leukemia back in November and has been undergoing treatment since then, with him to the Kentucky Derby festivities at the KFC Yum! Center Friday night to walk the red carpet. I’m pretty sure he joined Noel at the Derby itself on Saturday, although the reporting doesn’t make that clear.

This is the sort of thing that really bolsters our perceptions about Noel and the kind of young man he is. Noel didn’t have to do this, but he not only did it, he obviously really wanted to, and enjoyed his time with the young cancer patient. He seems to get the fact that an ACL tear is nothing compared to the fight Kelly is waging.

This once again makes me feel a real pang of remorse over losing Nerlens to injury. He was on track to seriously challenge Anthony Davis’ freshman shot-blocking record, although we would have had to do it in far fewer games, I suspect.

I am reminded, once again, of the circumstances of his injury – rushing down the court far ahead of his teammates in a 94-foot attempt to block a shot – which he ultimately did. His kindness to Kelly just reinforces the idea that Nerlens really got it while he was here. He truly was his brother’s keeper.